Comparison of the North American ECA (NAECA) and California Air resources board (CARB) Regulations

The California Air Resources Board issued Marine Notice 2012-1 to clarify the relationship and differences between the low sulfur fuel requirements of the California regulations and the North American ECA. Both the CARB regulations and NAECA have changes that are in force beginning August 1, 2012.

North America ECA Requirements

The NAECA requires the use of fuel containing a maximum of 1% sulfur content. Low sulfur HFO and IFO can be used to meet the ECA requirements. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expects distillate fuels of various grades to be used as blending agents to produce 1% sulfur fuel oil. The EPA does not expect vessels to use pure distillate fuels to meet the 1% fuel sulfur standard.

CARB Requirements

CARB regulations require the use of distillate fuels: DMA (MGO) – ≤ 1.0% sulfur content or DMB (MDO) – ≤ .5% sulfur content. Low sulfur HFO and IFO are not distillates and cannot be used to meet the CARB requirements


Vessels planning to enter Regulated California Waters (24 nm from the California shoreline, including islands) from the NAECA must switch to the specified distillate fuels to be in compliance with the CARB regulations.

Additional information:

Marine Notice 2012-1

EPA Guidance


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